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UFC 145 blog: Jon Jones cruises to unanimous decision over Rashad Evans

Ben Rothwell and Michael McDonald earn first round knockouts

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Jon Jones speaks to reporters ahead of his UFC 145 bout with Rashad Evans in Atlanta.

Updated Saturday, April 21, 2012 | 9:59 p.m.

UFC 145

How much of a chance do you give Rashad Evans to upset Jon Jones at UFC 145?
No way Jones will lose — 29.3%
Evans will win — 25.7%
It would take a miracle — 25.2%
It's a toss-up — 19.8%

This poll is closed, see Full Results »

Note: This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Note: Full results from the preliminary card are available at the bottom of the page.

ATLANTA — Jon Jones failed to deliver the memorable knockout of Rashad Evans he promised at UFC 145 Saturday night.

He’ll have to settle for a decisive unanimous-decision victory. Jones retained his light heavyweight championship belt, defending it for the third consecutive time by beating his former training partner at Philips Arena.

“I was a little surprised,” Jones said in his post-fight octagon interview. “I had a goal to finish this fight, and I didn’t.”

“I felt like my striking was looking a lot more elementary. I just didn’t want to make any mistakes… Who I beat, it was important to me.”

Jones took every round on one judge’s scorecard, and four of five in the eyes of the other two. He beat Evans by doing the same thing he’s done to every other opponent — refusing to let him get inside.

Evans said that he would be different. That he would be the one to solve Jones because of their past training sessions together.

But Jones is a different fighter now. The elbows he threw while standing particularly caught Evans off guard.

“I played the wrong game,” Evans said. “He came out with some tricky stuff.”

The rest of the main card was just as lopsided as Jones vs. Evans. Heavyweight Ben Rothwell and bantamweight Michael McDonald scored first-round knockouts over Brendan Schaub and Miguel Torres, respectively.

Rory MacDonald put on an even more dominating performance. He destroyed Che Mills for seven minutes in the co-main event before earning a second-round TKO.

As more than a 5-to-1 underdog, Eddie Yagin won a split decision over Mark Hominick. In the first fight on the main card, Mark Bocek took a unanimous decision over John Alessio.

Check below for the rest of the results and come back to lasvegassun.com for full coverage of UFC 145.

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans

Fifth Round Jones jabs Evans to open the round. He then works his leg strikes again. A couple land, but Evans is still bouncing around. Evans must make a serious move if he wants to win this fight. But so far, Jones is the only one landing any strikes with significance. He goes back to the Superman punch that he's used sporadically throughout the night. Evans is quick enough to get away from two of Jones' hooks, but he eventually tracks him down with a jab. Jones is stalking Evans, who just can't find any offense. Jones throws a knee and punches Evans' stomach. They're locked up against the cage, but make their way back towards the middle. Evans tries to throw a knee, but Jones backs off and fires a right hand. Jones is just out-boxing Evans now. They lock up and Jones throws Evans to the ground. Evans looks in trouble as Jones throws an elbow and then a ground-and-pound punch. Evans is back up. There's no finish yet and still 42 seconds to go. The crowd has risen with 30 seconds left. Jones is still getting the best of it, even as Evans advances. Jones jumps onto Evans and winds up on his back by pulling guard. Bell sounds and Jones should have a clean 50-45 sweep. Jones defeats Evans by unanimous decision (50-45, 49-46, 49-46).

Fourth Round Jones is pushing Evans back once again to start. Evans lands a left hand, but only after Jones feeds him a handful of strikes to his own. Jones hits Evans with a spinning back fist a minute in. Now a superman punch. Jones' flashy style is coming off nicely in Atlanta now. Evans shoots for a takedown, but Jones doesn't come anywhere near the floor. He does throw a knee to Evans' chest, though. Jones counters an Evans leg kick with a right hand. Jones throws a leg kick that Rashad catches, but he still can't get him down. Evans is breathing hard. Jones looks more fresh. Near the midway point, Evans hits Jones with a right hand. Jones isn't engaging much, which has made some of the crowd boo. Others are cheering. Jones goes to the body and then the shin with a leg kick. Jones taunts Evans now, jumping up and down and faking flying knees. Evans shoots for a takedown, but Jones gets him by the neck. No choke attempt, as he lets Evans go and swings at him. Jones feeds Evans two elbows. Jones get Evans back in the clinch. But Evans' strength can't be understated, as he breaks his head out to save himself from knees. Jones thrusts his chest into Evans' face from the clinch. To end the round, Jones shoots but can't keep Evans down. Jones is now up 40-36 heading to the final stanza.

Third Round Jones swings a leg kick towards Evans chin, but it's not close to landing. Jones throws a knee, but Evans hits him with a right. Jones throws another Superman punch, but Evans is hanging in there. Evans kicks the inside of Jones' leg. Jones throws an overhand right that connects. Evans flails towards Jones with a big right hand that doesn't come close. Jones stalks Evans now and kicks him with a whipping right leg across the chest. Evans blocks a front kick. He can't get inside of Jones, though. Jones throws a jab that knocks Evans' head back a fair bit. Evans goes back to the leg kick and then jabs. Jones throws flying knee, but Evans' chin is stellar. He's fine and out to the other side of the cage. Another flying knee from Jones ends with Evans throwing an elbow. Evans throws a big left hook that hits Jones on the forehead. Jones strings together a combination with 1:30 remaining. Evans goes to the body. Jones is keeping the distance by putting his left hand out in front of him. He's still using those kicks to the knee, too. They clinch up before Jones pushes Evans away. Jones advances, but Evans lands a body shot. Jones misses with a kick and Evans lands one to the body as time expires. Jones takes another 10-9 round to go up 30-27 on this scorecard.

Second Round Jones comes forward and misses with a left hand before they lock up. Jones breaks out and throws an elbow that grazes Evans. In a rare moment of Jones leaving himself open, Evans goes to the body. Jones lands consecutive right hands and tries a front kick that misses. Evans is using good head movement to keep himself away from Jones' advances. Evans taunts Jones by licking his hand. The crowd loves it. Jones comes back in, but Evans hits him with a short right. Evans fires into Jones' body. Jones lands the biggest shot of the round, sending Evans into the cage with a left hand. Evans uses a leg kick and then misses with a head kick on the follow. Jones nails Evans' chin with a right hand. And again. Now Evans is stumbling. Jones has him against the cage. But Evans recovers and swings at Jones. They're locked up and Evans tries to take Jones down. Jones is having none of it. He's got under hooks and knees Evans. Jones works his jab with a minute to go and Evans answers with a leg kick. Jones is picking Evans apart with elbows and jabs. The crowd is reacting loudly. Evans is throwing all he can. But even when something lands, Jones looks unfazed. Jones ends the round with a flying knee and massive right hand. Evans is on his feet, but frowns. Jones takes another 10-9 round.

First Round They both start crouched, but pop up and go to the middle. Jones stalking Evans to begin. Jones drops to his knees and pushes Evans into the cage. He stumbled on what looked like a takedown attempt. Jones working his kicks early, connecting with Rashad's leg but missing his head. Evans comes in and Jones catches him. He throws a knee but Evans pushes it away. Evans is having as tough of a time as anyone else with Jones' reach. Evans hits Jones with a leg kick. Jones is using his leg kicks as jabs, much like in the Rampage fight. Evans connects with a short uppercut against a charging Jones. A kick lands on Evans' chin. Jones continues to work his leg strikes. Evans is getting out of the way of most of them, but can't counter with any efficiency. Jones is quick to retreat when he misses. Evans pushes forward at the midway point, but a Jones kick sends him headed back. A Jones uppercut lands on Evans' chest. Evans moves forward, but can't get inside of Jones' 84.5-inch reach. He's settling for leg kicks, but Jones' are more potent. Jones is kicking Evans' knee a lot. Jones throws a superman punch and follows it with a straight right to the body. A minute to go and Evans hasn't found many opportunities. Jones keeps keeps coming and hitting Evans. With 30 seconds to go, Evans goes up top for a kick that lands on Jones' temple. He hits Jones a couple more times. Jones retreats and hits Evans with a knee a few seconds later. Close first round but Jones takes it 10-9.

Rory MacDonald vs. Che Mills

Second Round A large bruise is now swelling under Mills' left eye with a cut in the middle. MacDonald takes him down and feeds even more ground-and-pound a few seconds into the round. MacDonald is in the crucifix again, the same position where Mills took an absolute beating in the first round. MacDonald passes into full mount. Mills rolls to give MacDonald his back. MacDonald looks for the choke again. Mills has heart to not give up, but it's impossible to say anything else that's complimentary of the British fighter at this point. He's turtled up and MacDonald is really swinging hard now. The referee has seen enough and pulls MacDonald off. Rory MacDonald defeats Che Mills by TKO at 2:20 of the second round.

First Round MacDonald is standing stoically in his corner before the fight starts. Mills looks a lot more hyped. An early head kick from MacDonald misses. He jabs instead. Mills throws a combination and follows it with a leg kick. Mills is moving forward, but MacDonald hits him with a kick across the chest. A short hook knocks MacDonald's jaw well. They are the clinch and a Mills uppercut also makes a nasty noise on MacDonald's chin. So much for that. MacDonald shoots and takes Mills right down. Mills has MacDonald's hands momentarily, but he gets loose. He's raining punches and elbows. This might end soon. Mills grabs MacDonald's head from the bottom. It's saving him from getting pummeled, but he's far from scoring any points. MacDonald is in side control and transitions to a crucifix. He's beating Mills' head continually. Now, MacDonald has a hold of Mills' arm and will look to end this. Mills' face is a bloody mess. Mills pushes MacDonald and has a split second of daylight. He can't get up, though. It's more of MacDonald in the crucifix. Crowd gasps as a MacDonald elbow makes more blood come out of Mills' face. Mills is taking so much punishment that he rolls over. MacDonald has his back. Now back to mount. Mills is trying to hold on with 10 seconds to go and a choke in. Mills survives, but MacDonald wins a 10-8 round.

Brendan Schaub vs. Ben Rothwell

First Round It takes 40 seconds for the first punch to be thrown. They both hit each other close to simultaneously. The exchanging continues until Schaub locks up and drives Rothwell into the fence. Rothwell gets Schaub in the clinch and throws a knee. Back in the middle and exchanging, it looks like Schaub has Rothwell nearly knocked out. Rothwell falls back and Schaub attacks. A right hand from Rothwell clocks Schaub. They trade punch for punch, but a left hand from Rothwell is the most powerful. Schaub is on the ground. Rothwell follows with ground-and-pound. It's over. Ben Rothwell beats Brendan Schaub by TKO at 1:10 of the first round.

Miguel Torres vs. Michael McDonald

First Round They touch gloves and get to it. Torres throws his jab first, but McDonald lands an uppercut moments later. Torres is backing up to McDonald's advances. McDonald throws a kick to Torres' head but it's checked. Neither man is finding their range too quickly as they trade jabs. McDonald moves forward again and hits Torres with a hook and uppercut. Torres ducks and retreats. McDonald lands some more at the center of the octagon. McDonald is a step ahead of everything Torres tries to do. McDonald throws a big combination that knocks Torres' mouthpiece out. Referee Herb Dean picks it up and Torres puts it right back in his mouth. Torres comes in, but McDonald counters with an uppercut to Torres' chin. Torres is out as McDonald goes to the ground after him. Michael McDonald defeats Miguel Torres by knockout at 3:18 of the first round.

Mark Hominick vs. Eddie Yagin

Third Round The crowd gives both fighters a loud applause as they come back out. Yagin, who may have a broken nose judging by the way he grimaced in his corner, strikes first with a right hand. Hominick moving backwards as Yagin throws a hook and follows it with a leg kick. Hominick now goes to the body and sends Yagin back. These guys are battling. Hominick jabs, but a counter hook from Yagin hurts him. Yagin is staying busy, but missing a lot. Hominick is getting more confident and stringing combinations together nicely. A body shot from Hominick makes Yagin crash into the cage. Hominick keeps going to the body, obviously noting its effectiveness. Yagin grazes Hominick with a spinning back fist. Hominick jabs again and Yagins nose has started bleeding profusely again. A right hand ricochets off Hominck's forehead. Hominick's hematoma has gotten bigger. They are both beat up. No real power strikes being thrown from either man, but Hominick is hurting Yagin with cobinations. A hook sends Yagin stumbling back. All he has to do is hold on, but Hominick is finding his range and power. Yagin stands in the pocket and Hominick connects to his opponent's chin. Hominick hurts Yagin again. Yagin won't go down. Blood flies out of Yagins nose as he tries a spinning back kick. Hominick surges late, but he can't stop Yagin. Hominick wins the final round 10-9, but Yagin takes a 29-28 decision on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Eddie Yagin defeats Mark Hominick by split decision (29-28, 29-28, 28-29).

Second Round A straight punch from Yagin is answered by a hook from Hominick. Yagin connects with power on Hominick's temple. Hominick stumbles back again. He jabs, but can't hurt Yagin. They're at the middle of the octagon a minute in and Yagin throws a spin kick. Hominick moves out of the way and throws a left. A lot of Yagin's strikes are missing now, but a whipping sound accompanies a leg kick to Hominick. Yagin drops Hominick again with a right hand and jumps down for some ground-and-pound. It looks a moment from being stopped when Hominick grabs a hold of Yagin's hands to stay alive. It's full guard for Hominick, who is looking for an arm bar. Yagin stands up and lets Hominick do the same. Yagin kicks Hominick's body with a spinning strike. Hominick lands his best punch of the night and Yagin's head whips to the side. But he comes back with a spinning back fist. It's fast and furious, but misses. A hematoma, reminiscent of the one he suffered against Jose Aldo, has formed on Hominick's head. Blood is now coming out of Yagin's nose as Hominick nails him with a right hand. Hominick goes to the body and Yagin clutches his stomach in pain. Yagin is hurt, but swinging away. Hominick has closed the round strong, but it's not enough to make up for the knockdown. Yagin wins 10-9 and goes up 20-18 on this scorecard.

First Round Hominick has already lasted longer than his last fight at the 8-second mark. Yagin comes out aggressive, though. He's weaving in and out for quick strikes and disrupting Hominick's rhythm. Hominick throws a head kick that Yagin ducks under. Yagin making good use of his right hand and throwing it frequently. Hominick counters once, but misses with a leg kick. Hominick is trying to come forward, but Yagin is making good use of his jab. Hominick jabbing now, too, and getting more comfortable. A small cut has opened on Yagin's face. Yagin is busier, but Hominick is hitting harder. A Yagin hook hits Hominick behind the ear and he stumbles. An uppercut from Yagin sends Hominick to the floor. Yagin gets into Hominick's guard. Hominick works for a submission, but it's not there. He takes a minute to recover and then gets to his feet with ease. Yagin throwing telgraphed strikes, perhaps desperate to look for the finish. That's benefiting Hominick, who has landed a few jabs and seems to have re-gained his senses. The left side of Hominick's face is swollen, though. Yagin rushes forward and hits Hominick with an overhand right. He continues to make good use of his jab. There's a combination that ends with a shin across Hominick's stomach. Hominick did enough to prevent a 10-8. Yagin wins the first round 10-9.

Mark Bocek vs. John Alessio

Third Round They meet in the middle and swing to start the round. Alessio sends Bocek back with a left hand. Bocek connects with a leg kick. Alessio's corner is animated as the Las Vegas fighter connects with an uppercut and a couple other punches. Alessio throws a kick to Bocek's stomach, which turns out to be a bad move. Bocek catches it and pounces, moving forward to secure a takedown. He's on Alessio's back and throwing hands when he can. Alessio can't do much to defend, but Bocek is keeping one hand around his neck. Bocek had a body triangle, but Alessio gets out and back to his feet. Alessio feels the urgency and charges forward. He puts a front kick of Bocek's chin. Bocek takes some punishment, but goes for another double-leg takedown. He's got Alessio against the fence and eventually on the mat. Alessio gets up, fires a right hand and now has superior position along the cage. Bocek reverses and throws knees to Alessio's thigh. They're still tangled with 30 seconds to go and the crowd is restless. Boos ring out. Alessio flails his hands trying to hit Bocek. It works as he gets out and hits Bocek a couple times. But Bocek takes another round and wins the fight 30-26 on the Las Vegas Sun scorecard. Mark Bocek defeats John Alessio by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28).

Second Round Alessio launches out at Bocek, who backs up. Bocek throws a leg kick. Neither fighter looks particulaly comfortable in the stand-up, as Alessio whiffs with a left hand and kick to the body. Alessio scores some points this time with a right hook to Bocek's temple. Alessio getting loose with his boxing now and out-landing Bocek in this round. Combination from Alessio is answered by Bocek landing a right hand. Bocek shoots in and scores a double-leg takedown. Bocek giving Alessio elbows in bunches. Alessio is trying to fire punches from bottom, but they don't have much behind them. Bocek attempts to work on an arm triangle choke, but can't get into side control for it to become more dangerous. He's controlling Alessio, however, and throwing plenty of elbows. Alessio gets up as Bocek tries to pass. They exchange straight punches. Alessio blocks a slow leg kick from Bocek. Alessio sends Bocek stumbling with a combination. But Bocek looks fine as he charges forward and pushes Alessio into the fence. Alessio won the striking for the round, but Bocek did everything else. Bocek wins the second round 10-9.

First Round Bocek tags Alessio with a right hand to get the bout under way. They're bobbing around, feeling each other out when Bocek lands another straight punch. Bocek is the early aggressor and shoots in for a single-leg takedown attempt. Alessio sprawls to stay on his feet early, but Bocek keeps at it. He drive him into the fence and uses knees to land strikes on Alessio's thigh. Alessio turns himself around, so now Bocek is wrapped around his back. Bocek throws a knee to Alessio's face and kicks his legs out from under him for the takedown. Alessio tries to hold on to the cage, but the referee warns him to let go. Bocek lands a couple powerful ground-and-pound punches from Alessio's guard. He switches to elbows now. Alessio is more concerned with defense at the moment. He's not giving Bocek any openings to pass into a better position. With a minute left, Bocek looks to get into mount. He settles from half-guard instead and feeds Alessio an elbow. Some grappling gives way to Bocek getting Alessio's back. The Las Vegas fighter is in trouble. Bocek working for a rear-naked choke with 20 seconds to go. It's not there, but Bocek did enough to earn a 10-8 round.

ATLANTA — By all measures, UFC 145 ranks as one of the most significant fight cards in the history of the Las Vegas-based promotion.

Main event participants Jon Jones and Rashad Evans, the two fighters who face off for the light heavyweight title, have received a mountain of mainstream attention. The two rivals have gone live on Sportscenter, served as guests on “Inside NBA” on TNT and went on a media tour in New York that saw them hit a handful of other notable television stations and magazines.

The streets of Atlanta are full and the hotels are packed. Fight fans traveled from all over the country to see this one. It will come in as one of the UFC’s top grossing pay-per-views of the year.

All of that’s great, but UFC President Dana White says there’s only one best way to gauge the interest of an event — ticket sales. Philips Arena is sold out.

It’s at least two hours before Jones and Evans walk to the octagon, but the majority of seats are already filled. The six-fight main card will start within the next few minutes when Las Vegas-fighter John Alessio returns to the UFC to meet Mark Bocek in a lightweight bout.

It’s followed by an all-important bantamweight bout between Miguel Torres and Michael McDonald, who will warm the stage for featherweights Mark Hominick and Eddie Yagin.

Heavyweights then take over, as athletic Brendan Schaub meets massive Ben Rothwell. Upcoming star Rory MacDonald should shine in the co-main event, against an on-paper inferior Che Mills.

But all roads lead to Jones vs. Evans. If the 24-year old Jones wants to live up to his potential and become the UFC’s greatest fighter, he must beat the 33-year old Evans.

Evan is his rival, former mentor and greatest challenge. The very complexion of the UFC's landscape would change if Evans shocked everyone and beat the heavily favored Jones.

He’s already done it here once. Evans famously knocked out Chuck Liddell in this very building as a 2-to-1 underdog at UFC 88.

Against Jones, however, Evans is a 4-to-1 underdog.

Check below for full results from the preliminary card and stay tuned to lasvegassun.com for a round-by-round live blog of the pay-per-view portion of the event.

A sterling performance from Travis Browne showed the heavyweight is ready to move up the rankings. Browne submitted Chad Griggs at 2:29 of the first round with an arm triangle choke. Browne took Griggs down after landing a flying knee. He warned the UFC's top heavyweights to watch out after improving to 4-0-1 in the octagon with the win.

Welterweight veteran Matt Brown pulled off a major upset against Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, who had never lost a professional fight in 69 combined kickboxing and MMA bouts. The judges awarded Brown a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-27) over Thompson. Brown took Thompson down in every round and opened a golf ball-sized cut on Thompson's forehead in the second. Thompson tagged Brown in the second and third rounds, but could never finish "The Immortal" off.

Las Vegas fighter Anthony Njokuani improved his record to 2-2 in the UFC. Njokuani won a unanimous decision — every judge gave him every round — over John Makdessi in a lightweight bout. Njokuani used leg kicks to score points and keep Makdessi away.

Mac Danzig won a unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 29-28) over Efrain Escudero in a lightweight bout. The first round featured Escudero nearly getting a heel hook submission, but action was scarce between the two former "Ultimate Fighter" winners for the next 12 minutes.

An early candidate for Fight of the Night, Chris Clements and Keith Wisniewski both had each other in precarious positions and were close to a finish during their 15 minutes in the octagon. Clements ultimately got past Wisniewski, winning a split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) in the welterweight contest. Clements fought through a rear naked choke attempt at the end of the second round and dominated the third round, putting Wisniewski on the floor with a spinning back fist and knee.

Marcus Brimage defeated Maximo Blanco by split decision (30-27, 29-28, 28-29) in a featherweight bout. The fight was largely devoid of action, although Brimage did drop Blanco with punches on two occasions. The two fighters bizarrely started doing gymnastics in the cage after the fight, with Brimage trying to match all of Blanco's somersaults and flips.

Case Keefer can be reached at 948-2790 or [email protected]. Follow Case on Twitter at twitter.com/casekeefer.

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